Nickelodeon is going back to the SpongeBob well. Having squeezed 12 seasons and three movies out of the show, the channel has now announced a prequel series. Titled Kamp Koral, the show will detail SpongeBob’s life as a 10-year-old at sleepaway camp. The series will be CGI, consist of 13 episodes, and will begin production later this month.
Ramsey Naito, EVP of animation production and development at Nickelodeon, said of the show: “SpongeBob has an incredible universe to expand upon and the greenlight for Kamp Koral is a testament to the strength and longevity of these characters known and loved by generations of fans around the world”.
SpongeBob Squarepants is arguably Nickelodeon’s biggest ever hit, but this decision mirrors similar ones made by other film studios and TV networks. Rather than put in the effort of building a new audience through a new show, they instead hope to keep the old ones by extending the IP in any possible way. Was there an outpouring of support for a SpongeBob prequel?
The issue is that most of these networks are spooked by streaming platforms such as Netflix. Fearing losing out on their traditional audience share, they’re buffing up old content in new ways, hoping to keep those viewers around. Who has time for originality when profits are at risk?
However, Kamp Koral likely won’t be the new face of SpongeBob anyway. A fourth film, titled It’s A Wonderful Sponge, is currently in development at Paramount Animation. It is slated for a May 22, 2020 release. That will also explore SpongeBob’s past, telling the story of how he came to Bikini Bottom and got his squarepants.
At this rate, look out for a spin-off explaining how SpongeBob became a sponge, and a fifth movie set in space. SpongeBob X?